Give Thanks for Reading

Rebecca Vance:

Happy Thanksgiving! Will you be out shopping tomorrow for Black Friday? Don’t forget books for that reader on your list! Here’s a great article to say thank you and give you some great information. Have a wonderful day! :)

Originally posted on ReadTuesday:



Ever read a great book? Be thankful for the author who spent years writing it.

That book grabbed your interest and entertained you. It may have communicated valuable knowledge. The story may have drawn you in. You may have fallen in love with the characters. Perhaps you became part of another world. It could be a better world, or a highly exciting world. An escape from reality. The story may have moved you.

The author may have spent years writing the book. Doing research. Learning and developing the skills needed to craft the masterpiece. Spending months searching for agents or publishers, writing query letters, or taking a huge risk by self-publishing. Marketing avidly, struggling to build a following, all to help you discover that great book.

So much time and effort perfecting a few hundred pages. All for your benefit.

This Thanksgiving, thank an author.

There are many…

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Dun Writin’—Now Whut? A series by Susan Uttendorfsky – Owner of Adirondack Editing – (35 Removing Filter Words)

Originally posted on Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog..... An Author Promotions Enterprise!:


Removing Filter Words

Filter words are placed between your character and the action. Generally, they are added to a sentence when trying to describe something that your character is experiencing or thinking. While, as usual, there’s a place for them in writing, you can tighten up your scenes immensely when they’re removed. It’s another tidbit for helping you show, rather than tell, as without the filter words, you’re forced to add more description to get what you mean across.

What are some filter words? Felt, realized, saw, wondered, seemed, decided, heard, knew, touched, watched, and can are some of the more common ones. You can search the Internet for other lists of filtering words. Cutting away your filtering words and forcing yourself to write without them results in more vivid scenes.

Here are some sentence examples of filter words:

  • She remembered him kissing her at their wedding.

  • She felt relieved…

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Contest Winner #2: Interview/Review With Linda Rawlins

Linda Rawlins
I would like to thank Linda Rawlins, author of Sacred Gold, for being here today. She has a very fascinating background as well as a very busy life! After the interview, I will give my review on Sacred Gold. Take it away, Linda!

Tell us a little about yourself that isn’t in your bio. What is your typical day like, or whatever you would like to share with your readers.

I am a family physician who is trained in Geriatrics and Forensics. I also have worked for 25 years in Hospice as a Medical Director, in charge of treating patients and educating my clinical teams. I love nature, biology and the beach!

Have any authors influenced your writing? How?

I have loved to read since a small child. I finished all the Nancy Drew/Hardy Boy Mysteries by the time I was ten. In fact, I started to write my first mystery in fifth grade similar to Nancy Drew but I only managed three chapters. Then I dug into my grandmother’s mysteries written Phyllis Whitney, Mary Stewart, Mary Higgins Clark, Lillian Jackson Braun and Agatha Christie. During high school, I started to focus on Sciences and my reading outside of Science and Biology related text books drifted to The Hobbit and J.R.R. Tolkien. After that, I began to read The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant by Stephen R. Donaldson. I continued with mystery and also added in some horror with the books of Stephen King, Peter Straub and Dean Koontz. In college, I studied Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, Charlotte Bronte and other works of English writers. In between assignments and my Biology textbooks, which I always loved due to my affection for anything in nature, I’d continue to read mysteries. Currently, I love to pick up a good book by James Patterson, JA Jance, Catherine Coulter, Kathy Reichs, Lee Child, Patricia Cornwell, Michael Crichton, Donald Bain, Iris Johansen, Sister Carol Anne O’Marie, Fern Michaels and C.S. Lewis amongst others.
Do you write in the same genre as your preferred recreational reading? What genre do you read in your spare time?
I do read a lot of mysteries, thrillers, with some sci-fi as well as medical literature. Currently, I read a lot of inspirational faith based books as well.

What is your favorite part about being an author? Your least favorite part?

I love to write – I love interacting with characters in my head. I really love hearing from readers who have enjoyed or were inspired by reading one of my books. My least favorite part is extensive editing because I need time in between reads to keep a fresh perspective.

If given the opportunity to sit down and talk to your favorite author, living or dead, what would you ask him/her? How would you answer the same question regarding your own writing?

I would like to talk to C.S. Lewis. I’d want to talk about life, dreams, hope and experiences. I believe that is the substance we write from. I would talk about the same to him.

At what age did you start writing and when did you decide on writing as a career choice?

I was an avid reader as a child. By fifth grade, I had read all the Nancy Drew/Hardy Boy Mysteries and started to write my own mystery story while I was in fifth grade. My teacher then showed me a book he had written which inspire me to write all the more.

Do you incorporate any of your favorite things, places or hobbies into your books?

Yes, I do incorporate places or similar places that I love to visit or are familiar with. I also incorporate some of my favorite interests or hobbies into the books. We are taught to write “what we know”, so using our favorite places or hobbies makes it that much easier.

What movie (if any) do you refuse to watch no matter how good people say it is? What book do you refuse to read? Why?
I refuse to watch 50 Shades of Gray or read the book. I prefer to stay with spiritual/mystery content.

Do you have a favorite character either from your own work or another author’s?

This is a hard question. I love the characters in my books and that’s why I write about them. They tell me what to write as I am drawn into their world. The reason I continue to read works by other author’s is that I enjoy visiting the world of their characters. If I don’t connect with a protagonist, I usually stop reading a series. I usually enjoy the protagonist from mystery novels – for example, Jessica Fletcher, Father Dowling, Librarian Charlie Harris, Bookshop Owner Penelope Thornton-McClure, and Sister Mary Helen. I also like Brother Odd.

Tell us a little about your most recent protagonist.

Dr. Amy Daniels is a trauma surgeon who left a busy career in Boston when she found out she had saved the life of a criminal responsible for killing her sister and placing her niece in a coma during a home invasion. She transfers to a small hospital in Vermont, with the hope of healing herself while continuing to have some presence in medicine. While there, she meets a psychologist priest who helps her work through her distress, while working through some of his own. The two pair up to solve mysteries and protect the life of a candy striper named Willow in my first book, The Bench. They continue to solve mysteries and work out their relationship in Fatal Breach and Sacred Gold.

Do you plan another series after (or concurrent with) this series?
Yes, I have another mystery series in the works that will take place on the Jersey shore.

What is the setting of your current work in progress and when can we expect to see it?

Takes place on the Jersey Shore and will hopefully be ready in a couple of months.

What inspired you for this particular book and your series?

The Rocky Meadow Mysteries were inspired as a respite from medicine. I spent a lot of time in a State Park near Rutland, VT while going to high school. I just fell in love with the area. What a great place to combine everything I love – nature, mysteries, medicine, spirituality and the concept of relaxing on a bench to get closer to God.

How do you think you have grown as a writer since you first began?

I continue to grow daily. I’ve learned a lot about writing – the process, the expectations, the editing and the overall publication process. I continue to learn on a daily basis as I continue to write but also as the industry is currently in a state of flux and is changing regularly.

Did you begin Sacred Gold knowing what was going to happen?

I had a basic outline in my head. I know where I want to start and how I want to finish but for much of the middle, I am a pantser.
How much outlining do you do, prior to writing the story, or do you plunge right in? Plotter or Pantser?

I have to have a basic outline – I think of it as a skeleton. I have the basic lay out. As time goes on, I add color, substance and story to complete the process.

Many writers have quirky writing habits. What about you?

I do a lot of writing in my head at 4am. I sit at the typewriter at a different part of the day to put my thoughts on paper. I try to use music, movies, photos, or other things that will help set the scene. Sometimes, I actually have to act certain things out to make sure it is correct. I am a visual person so when I write, I am usually transcribing the vision or scene I see in my head.

Do you write from the beginning to the end, or do you write individual scenes and later string them together?

I will try to write from beginning to end, one chapter at a time. I have swapped the place a chapter lies in a novel if I feel it gives the story a better flow.

Are your characters based on total imagination or based on any real people that you know or have known in the past?

Some of my characters are made up from experiences I’ve had with various people I have met over time, but not one single person. Others are purely fictional.

Have you considered mixing genres or are you a “purist?”

I like mystery, but my writing has been said to touch on mainstream, women’s fiction, part inspirational and slightly romantic.

I know that you have a very demanding full-time job. Is writing a sideline for you or do you intend to become a full-time author in the future?

I would LOVE to be a full-time author in the future. I do have the vision of writing on my laptop on a beach or while sitting at a tiki bar somewhere next to an ocean and a reggae band. It’s certainly a dream.

Last question, we all know that reviews are important, both for the author and the reader. Speaking strictly from your point of view as a READER, how much importance do you place on the reviews as to whether or not you buy the book? Why?

I read reviews and try to have an open mind as I know that different stories appeal to different readers. However, if I see a lot of reviews stating that a book has gratuitous language, violence or sexual content, I would probably shy away. I do read what the reviewer writes and consider all before purchasing a book.

Thanks, Linda! I know that was a lot of questions, but so interesting! Now for my review of Sacred Gold.

Sacred Gold.

Sacred Gold is the third book in the Rocky Meadow Series, but you would never know it. There is none of the feeling that you have missed something and that you’ll have to read the other two books first to “get it.” It works well as a stand alone book, but I think you will want to read the other two if you start with this one. I know I do! The setting is in snowy, Rocky Meadow, VT, during the Christmas season. Dr. Amy Daniels, the acting medical examiner, finds herself in a quest to discover a hidden treasure. With the aid of an old journal and a very handsome church pastor, Father Michael Lauretta, she sets out to find the treasure and keep it safe. They enlist the aid of a trained Italian curator, but little do they know that they are not the only ones seeking this treasure. Danger ensues and lives are at stake as they try to get to the treasure before the greedy would-be thieves do. This is the only description I will give, because I would definitely not want to spoil it for you. The characters are usually my biggest interest, so I will start there and give you my breakdown.
CHARACTERIZATION: The characters were some of the best I’ve seen. They were developed well and you cared about each one of them.
PACING: The pacing was just right. It was exciting and didn’t drag in the middle as many books from new authors tend to do. I was quite impressed. This is not an easy balance to achieve, I know. I am working on that on my work in progress.
GRAMMAR AND TYPOS: As many of you know that have read my reviews, I can be quite a stickler in this area. Frankly, I did not detect any errors in this section, so that is a big plus to me.
SUMMARY: This book was one of the better mysteries and/or thrillers that I’ve read. If you like quest stories, I recommend this highly. Check out this book and the other two in the series on Amazon. Here is the link for Sacred Gold:

In closing, Linda would love to talk with her readers and answer any questions that you may have. You can contact her on her website: and on Facebook:

Thanks for being here Linda! I give Sacred Gold: :) :) :) :) :)


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Amazon Pays Advances for Your Book?

Originally posted on Savvy Writers & e-Books online:



Writers everywhere get excited about an email from Amazon, where they explain a glimpse into offering a new program, a crowd-sourcing program:  
Your readers and followers can decide if an e-book / audio-book will be published by Amazon – and you can keep the print rights.  There will be a (small) advance, royalties and certainly Amazon’s tremendous marketing power.  Here are the first details:

  • Focused formats: We acquire worldwide publication rights for the e-Book and audio formats in all languages. You retain all other rights, including print.
  • Submit your complete! (means edited) never-before-published book and cover.
  • After a few days, we will post the first pages of each book on a new website for readers to preview and nominate their favorites.
  • Books with the most nominations will be reviewed by our team for potential publication.
  • Should you be selected for publication you will receive benefits that include:

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Discussion: Who are Book Reviews For?

Rebecca Vance:

This is a great topic from a wonderful reviewer! I am interested in your comments too. What is your view on reviews, both as a reader and a writer? Also, sorry for the long time since my last posting! Stay tuned, very soon I will be posting the spotlight interview and review of Linda Rawlins–winner of Contest #2!! :)

Originally posted on The Mad Reviewer:

One night as I travelled down the terrible depths of YouTube I came across several videos of authors ranting about reviewers and book reviews in general.  Later that same week I was given a link by a reader to a particularly incoherent rant that I won’t link to.  All of this vitriol and empty rhetoric really made me thing, though: who are book reviews for?

Well, my opinion is pretty simple:

1.  Book reviews are primarily for my own enjoyment because I like analyzing books but in general book reviews are targeted at readers.

2.  This is not to say that authors, publishers and/or editors can’t benefit from book reviews, but that those benefits aren’t intentional.

If you’re an author and expect an unpaid volunteer book reviewer like myself to write a 2000+ critique of your novel, you’re insane.  Hire yourself an editor if you need a critique that detailed. …

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marsbow_pacholka When I had a contest a few months ago, as a way of thanking my Facebook fans for reaching 500 likes on my author page, it was such a success, that I promised another contest upon reaching 1,000 likes. Well, I have surpassed that now, so here it is, the start of another contest! I am taking entries of those interested in being in the contest.

As many of you know, my queue for requests has been saturated for quite some time, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. I have been, and continue to be, closed for any new requests. That is the reason for the contest. I will have a drawing in the near future, (the date of the drawing will be announced later), and one random author will be featured here on my blog, in a spotlight interview and his/her book will be reviewed. All of my reviews are also posted on Amazon and Goodreads as well as on my Facebook page. I also tweet all of my reviews on Twitter.

To enter, go to the top of the page to the header. There you will find the page: Review Submission Requests & Information. Click on that and it will take you to the contest rules and qualifications and explain how to enter.

That’s it! Click on over there and if you want to enter, please do! It will be so much fun! Who knows? YOU may be the winner. :)

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Guest Post: You Can’t Polish A Turd


I am excited to have Nikolas Baron from Grammarly here as my very first guest post! Grammarly is an automated online proofreader that helps over 3 million users perfect their written English. Due to the immense volume of material that they proofread daily, Nicolas has incredible insight as to how people are writing and the mistakes being made. Since this blog is dedicated to the aspiring and debut author, he has agreed to share some of that insight here today. Take it away, Nikolas!

You Can’t Polish a Turd
If you’ve ever watched the British film, “The History Boys,” you probably remember the expression, “You can’t polish a turd”. The connotation is pretty clear; it doesn’t matter how hard you polish a turd, a turd will always be a turd. That is perhaps the harshest comment, and one of the last I ever want to hear in reference to my writing.
The end goal for many of us writers probably pretty much centers around the same things: write an amazing book, get published by a huge company, top the bestseller charts everywhere, receive extravagant royalties, and get rich and famous. But many of us are stumped right at the first step – write an amazing book. Now how in the world are we supposed to string together a whole lot of incredible words to form this miraculous mass of a book?
In this article, I’ll be tackling a few points you will need for a great product.
I’m not saying this to sound all cliché, but this point is often overlooked simply because it is assumed. Passion. You have to absolutely love it. Love writing, love books, love it; the feeling has to be so strong that majority of the days, you jump out of bed because in some strange realm, your characters, your chapters, and your story are calling out to you. Many people presume that just because they’ve got some opinions and the caliber to write, it automatically gives them the super ability to go through from writing to publishing an entire book. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but writing a book is like giving birth; even worse, since most of the time it takes more than 9 months. This passion is what will motivate you, even through the worst days, to put in your best efforts in writing and marketing your book.
Consistent writing. Set aside time every day to exercise your writing muscles. You wouldn’t believe how this small effort to allow your brain to think in words can translate into drastic improvements with your writing. Think of it as quality time between you and your cerebral cortex. Of course there will be some days the ideas just don’t seem to stick, and you’ll feel like you’ve gone entirely bonkers. But in the words of Lewis Carroll in Alice in Wonderland, “all the best people are”. If any inkling of an idea does come, at least you’ll be there ready to put it down. Writing only gets easier with practice.
Scrivener to keep your mental notes, complicated plots and detailed scene notes in order. Unless you’ve got the incredible memory of a dolphin, chances are you won’t remember the detailed nitty-gritties of your entire story plot. If you’re writing something long and complicated with loads of references, Scrivener will fast become your best friend. Keep your fragmented ideas, character sheets, references or quick ideas all in one place. Scrivener creates that structured order from complete chaos. The corkboard view is particularly impressive and useful, firstly to organize the flow of your writing and secondly, to show off your writing inclinations to any unaware wondering eyes.
For the secrets to perfect grammar, many writers employ the help of proofreading software. It is very difficult to reach exact precision when it comes to writing; even after it has gone through tons of editing, books still get published with spelling errors and grammatical mistakes. Grammarly is climbing the ladders and making its way onto the bookmarks list of many authors. This intuitive online program grammar-checks your entire document, from technical to structural errors, without missing a beat. Detailed explanations are given to remind you of certain language annoyances. With one click, you’ll be able to correct every little error in your manuscript. It works like a charm.
These are some tools I use to ensure that my writing isn’t labeled a turd by any measure – perhaps my biggest fear. My parting words: always write about things close to your heart otherwise it’ll definitely reflect on your writing and no number of tools will be able to dig you out of your hole.
By Nikolas Baron

I would like to thank Nikolas for being here today. If you would like to contact Nicolas, he can be reached:


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